Political Participation Problems In The Conditions Of Information Confrontation In Virtual Space

Abstract

The article analyzes the problems of political participation in the conditions of information confrontation in the virtual space. The importance of the communicative-synergetic approach in modern political science studies is noted. Specific cognitive models and methods of studying the problems of political participation of various social groups and individuals in the conditions of the information society are substantiated. The importance of taking into account regional specificities, in particular, the socio-political space of the South of Russia, which is characterized by ethnic heterogeneity, is being updated in the process of identifying the nature of communicative interactions in the information-political context. Based on comprehensive analytics, conclusions are drawn about the impact of socio-cultural and economic-territorial unevenness, socio-economic stratification, the high religious and ethnic patchiness of the South of Russia on the activity and constructivism or the disintegration nature of the participation of actors in the political process and ways of involving young people in political discourse using new social media. The article notes that in the conditions of polyarchy, as well as the concentration of power in the hands of the media elite, the latest technologies of influence are applied in the process of struggle for the right to impose one’s vision of the world. Therefore, monitoring and comparative analysis in terms of regional specificity of the political participation of various social groups in the conditions of information confrontation of the political process actors in the context of globalization is needed.

Keywords: Political participationinformation confrontationvirtual spaceregional specificity

Introduction

The political and socio-economic situation of the modern multi-ethnic social space demonstrates the increasing relevance of studying the problems of political participation in the context of the widespread dissemination of new social media and Internet technologies. The application of the communicative-synergetic approach in the study of information confrontation, including the analysis of youth participation in politics in the format of applying new technologies, will improve forms and methods of work in the youth environment in the context of the implementation of specific tasks in the process of conducting a competent youth policy. The relevance of the topic is also due to the need for a scientific and theoretical analysis of the processes that contribute to the development of a common Russian civic identity, and a comprehensive study of the factors that impede the solution of this complex problem. For citizens actively participating in the political process, it is necessary to suggest a constructive political formula and convey to them the principles of ethics of discourse, which are urgently needed for a true culture of dialogue. This activity requires the organization of information and analytical work, including through political science analytical structures. Elaboration of recommendations for the preparation of political decisions, improvement of information and analytical support in many respects contributes to increasing the effectiveness of information policy and, in particular, the political socialization of young people, who are almost always in the space of new social media.

Problem Statement

The study of the problems of political participation of various social groups and individuals in the context of information confrontation in the virtual space is necessary to develop specific methods for implementing information policy, improving the quality of political practices and their fit with the needs of society in the information age.

Research Questions

The object of study in this article are the problems of political participation in the informational confrontation in the virtual space. The emphasis is also made on regional specificity, associated with the multi-component nature of the multi-ethnic society.

Purpose of the Study

To determine the specificity of political participation in the conditions of information confrontation in the virtual space, taking into account regional characteristics of the multi-component society.

Research Methods

During the research, methods of analysis of political and political science texts, a poly-paradigmatic approach to the study of the problems of information interaction, conflict analysis and analytical diagnostics of the multi-component regional space, as well as methods of axiological analysis of media discourse were used.

Findings

The socio-political space of the South of Russia is quite complex, it is characterized by ethnic heterogeneity, socio-cultural and economic-territorial unevenness, socio-economic stratification, high religious and ethnic patchiness, active involvement of young people, with the help of information technologies, in political and cultural discussions on issues of historical memory and many painful problems of modern society. For example, multi-ethnic character and uneven development of the territory of Krasnodar Krai requires the authorities, implementing information policy in the region, to carry out operational analysis and assessment of the current situation in all dimension of the socio-political situation in the region, and, on this basis, make appropriate decisions and regulatory acts at the regional level in accordance with the guidelines of the federal government and taking into account local specificity. The peculiarities of information support for the activities of government bodies are that they are both an element of the management system and process in the region and directly influence the situation in the country as a whole. Therefore, this activity has a conceptually significant character for the state, and, at the same time, being mainly an applied activity, it may manifest some restrictions caused by time parameters. And, although much attention is paid to the immediacy and effectiveness of the information provided, it is necessary to put the content and persuasiveness of the texts at the forefront. To theoretically substantiate the problems of political participation in a composite society, we can consider some classic interpretations of political behaviorism. E.g., the British theoretician Russell (1999) considered instincts and emotions to be the main factor, determining the behavior of people in society. In his opinion, man is not driven by conscious, rationally defined goals, but by spontaneous impulses, passions, instincts, especially possessive ones, embodied in the pursuit of profit. At the same time, he emphasized the communicative significance of the imperious qualities of personality. Identifying three forms of power (force, economic power and power of persuasion), he viewed political process as the result of spontaneous, instinctive impulses (Russell, 1999). “The importance of economic power is really great, but this is only one form of power, therefore, it cannot be assumed that it is more important than the power of the army or the power of propaganda” (Russell, 1999, p. 206). Analyzing the role of moral values in society, he adhered to the so-called theory of emotive ethics, that is, ethics, evoking emotions, exciting, stunning viewers, listeners, and audience. Almost all modern media are actively trying to use this mechanism, as a rule, trying to achieve the effect of targeted impact, as well as manipulation of public consciousness, necessary for the customer. This conceptual approach applies methodology of logical positivism, which assumes that moral judgments are not subject to experimental verification and are meaningless, therefore they cannot be either true or false. In the context of this theory, moral statements only express emotions, and therefore, each person can adhere to any point of view in morality, and ethical problems are outside the field of science and are not connected with it in any way. B. Russell differentiated between problems of value orientations and principles of science. And thus, in his reasoning, he ended up with the denial of ethical and moral factors in relations between people, in the communicative space. And thereby, on the basis of desires of different people, various interpretations of morality can be constructed. Russell viewed the task of ethics in creating illusions that the values of some people have universal significance in a particular society and take on the form of an imperative for everyone else. This principle prevails, as demonstrated by observations, in the functioning of modern mass media (Tsygankov, 2012).

This is important to take into account in the process of analyzing the problems of political participation in the context of information confrontation in the virtual space. This approach must be borne in mind when elaborating conflict resolutin scenarios for the development of regions of modern society, which are necessary to determine effective social technologies for conflict management, to identify their specificity at the regional and municipal levels in the face of new challenges of informatization.

The problems of political participation are related to the processes of democratic institutionalization as a process through which organizations and procedures gain normative stability, which affects the stability of social development as a whole. Huntington (1996) emphasized the problem of societal maturity depending on the level of institutionalization. He noted that the level of institutionalization of any individual organization or procedure can be measured through its adaptability, complexity, autonomy and coherence. If these criteria can be identified and measured, then political systems can be compared in terms of their levels of institutionalization. Moreover, then it will become possible to measure the growth and decline of institutionalization for individual organizations and procedures within the political system (Meleshkina, 2012).

Constructivist currents of political thought insist that modern political reality is at the same time both objective and subjective. In other words, it is intersubjective, as it is continuously created and recreated by the interaction between actors of the international system and the meaning that they attach to it. From this point of view, "not only power relations, but also non-material factors such as rules, norms and values" play a significant role in the behavior of various political actors. Thus, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the multi-component nature of the Russian society, by definition, cannot smoothly and painlessly form the political and ideological paradigm of institutionalization as the only possible and effective one for the entire multicultural space. Therefore, from the point of view of analyzing the problem of political participation in the conditions of information confrontation in the virtual space, it is necessary to identify interests and values of protest social groups in order to further adjust the policy based on the principles of deliberation. At the same time, the expert and analytical community focuses on solving the problems of ensuring social security and stability of the Russian political system. In this regard, it should be borne in mind that the value-cultural aspects of political participation are a complex interweaving of many factors of a multiethnic, multiconfessional, pluralistic social space, requiring careful attention from both current politicians and complex poly-paradigm analysis by the scientific community. The struggle for gaining sovereignty in the information space in post-Soviet Russia practically translates into fierce competition between the various centers of influence in the space of the information field of the entire planet. The purposeful desire for political, economic, spiritual and informational expansion against the sovereign Russian society by competitors has led to disastrous consequences for all participants in the conflict interaction, since it threatens the security of states and also leads to economic and financial destabilization of international cooperation in the conditions of illegitimate sanction and information-psychological war against Russia. Many mass media, not taking into account the danger of spiritual crisis, loss of moral values and the subsequent degeneration of the natural peaceful mentality into its opposite, continue the tactics of the information-psychological war, which is dangerous in that it is aimed at destroying the moral and spiritual potential of society and threatens the formation of organic social solidarity, necessary for humanity on a global scale. Among the threats to the information security of society, it is worth mentioning the ideologems of ethnic nationalism, that openly propagate hatred and enmity in the real and also in the information network space, which, in the era of the Internet, has become an important communication format. New information technologies and social media are now widely used in geopolitics, in particular, with a focus on the preparation of "color revolutions", which are a way of chaotization of the social space. Therefore, network technologies are directly related to the spread of both constructive (for example, managerial crowdsourcing) and destructive pattern of behavior that destroy a stable social order (often for utopian ideas). Under the pretext of “exalted goals”, the activities of marginal extremist groups, oriented towards global social upheaval are legalized. E.g., some analysts are developing a model of a new type of war – the so-called "network war", with the aim of ensuring one’s hegemony in the structure of the modern world, for example, by such actors of the political process as various network structures, which include both means of communication and mass media, transnational corporations, religious, non-profit, and political organizations, and private paramilitary companies related to the spread of violence markets. In these circumstances, special services of various states could be integrated into a common flexible, operatively interacting structure in order to ensure international security in the new conditions of the global information society. In every region, organizations that never came into contact before, but, being aware of the new challenges and vulnerabilities of societies, are ready to search for effective mechanisms to ensure the protection of the social space from the threats of war, could initiate their interaction. To do this, it is necessary to comprehensively analyze various most influential vectors of interdependence and communications in the region. In particular, it is important to determine what is the predominant type of political communications: rallies, protest actions, social media, print media, official events. Then, on this basis, it is necessary to select technologies for analyzing participants’ political behavior in the communicative process in real and virtual space. To analyze each level and form of communication, specific scientific procedures and scientific tools are needed: content analysis, cognitive mapping, frame analysis, as well as various methods of political discourse analysis, making possible to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the situation and determine ways to achieve mutual understanding or reasons for misunderstanding. It is assumed that the conflict studies paradigm is always aimed at resolving conflicts, including through mediation technologies and facilitation.

For the study of political behavior, including verbal one, of those social actors who are the object of conflict studies analysis and expertise, as well as for predictive diagnosis of the development of the studied region, socio-humanitarian criteria are elaborated. An important aspect of the analysis is also the determination of the adaptive resources of social groups and political actors to the new conditions of the information society with social media communication mechanisms. The information and communication field of a multiethnic region is formed in everyday cognitive interactions, based on sociocultural orientations, and above all, established traditions, customs and language. In a conflict situation, it is of great importance who takes on the “role of an interpreter facing the life-world” (Habermas, 2000). This topic is very specific and poorly studied in terms of the problems of political participation in the conditions of information confrontation in the virtual space.

Conclusion

A comprehensive considerations of these issues, based on the results obtained by sociological groups, conducting surveys and monitoring of political participation, as well as the content of federal, regional and local media, taking into account specificity of the new social media, will make it possible to classify forms and methods of political participation of various social groups. Analytics and systematization of the content of multidirectional information flows, diagnosis of possible threats to the stability of society can only be carried out if there is a scientifically based methodology of a poly-paradigmatic nature. The use of methodological pluralism approaches, analyzing trends in the information space, is based on interdisciplinary research practices. One of the many explanatory models of this comprehensive study is the conflict studies paradigm, which includes a number of political science theories that focus on the conflict type of social interaction in the field of the struggle for power, in the coditions of polyarchy. The abstract-analytical and applied nature of the study of the information and communication field of a multi-ethnic space makes it possible to conceptualize the specificity of political participation in the conditions of information confrontation, including in virtual space. It is also necessary for conflict studies forecasting of the ethno-political situation and the analysis of domestic and foreign policy challenges and threats to national security in the studied region. The parameters of this analysis include studies of social partnership, the level of confidence or lack of confidence in social institutions, media in particular, forms of social solidarity and cooperation in the context of the implementation of humane goals or, conversely, destructive, selfish interests. The most important means of effective state policy in the real field of information confrontation are identified, as well as the existing limitations that create many obstacles, associated with the multi-component, multi-ethnic nature of social relations, the conflict of values and interests and the predominance of distorted communication in the interaction of rival groups.

Acknowledgments

The publication was prepared as part of the implementation of the state assignment for the SSC RAS, project group no. АААА-А19-119011190170-5.

References

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Publisher

European Publisher

First Online

31.10.2020

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2020.10.05.164

Online ISSN

2357-1330